The Trojans and Trojanettes captured region championships as they won the Region 3-3A boys and girls basketball tournament at McClain High School. The Trojanettes defeated the McClain Lady Mustangs 50-46 in the girls game, while the Trojans cruised past the McClain Mustangs 51-32 in the boys game.
In the girls game, the Trojanettes and Lady Mustangs matched each other through out most of the night. The score was tied 19-19 at halftime, but McClain was able to take a 32-31 lead heading into the final period.
East Side stepped up its game by outscoring McClain 19-14 in the fourth quarter to win.
East Side boys and girls head coach Leroy Cotton said the Trojanettes stepped up its defensive pressure.
“We played a full court man-to-man and that helped us get some more turnovers,” Cotton said.
The region championship was the perfect representation of how the girls have improved as they are 13-2 since the beginning of January. The Trojanettes are 20-6 overall.
“Those girls are all great kids,” Cotton said. “They really care about winning and being successful. It’s been a nice year to see them develop. I remember telling them in October and November don’t get frustrated. Sure enough last night was the 20th win, and I’m proud of them.”
Junior Keisha Cotton led the Trojanettes with 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks, followed by freshman Shammia Love with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists and junior Lashawn Palmer with 11 points and nine rebounds.
In the boys title game, the Trojans used a strong second half to pull away with the win as they outscored the Mustangs 31-16 in the third and fourth quarters.
Cotton said an adjustment on defense paved the way for success.
“We went to a 2-3 zone,” Cotton said. “Our length bothered them in the 2-3 zone, and we were able to take advantage.”
John Paul Davis had an extraordinary game for the Trojans as he recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 12 blocks and 10 rebounds. Charles Jackson aided the Trojans with 19 points and eight rebounds, followed by Bobby Jones Jr. with eight points.
Friday’s win also gave the Trojans (22-5) their second straight region championship and five in six years.
Cotton has been pleased with how the Trojans have competed this year.
“We’ve been in every game this year,” Cotton said. “What has really carried them is how well we play defense. When the offensive execution is good, we’re pretty tough to beat.”
The 3A North Half Playoffs for both the boys and girls will start this week. The Trojanettes will play Kemper County in the first round on Monday at East Side High School, while the Trojans will play Winona on Tuesday at East Side High School. Both games will start at 7 p.m.